Dave Gettleman answered a lot of questions about his plan for the Giants with what he did in the NFL Draft last week, but he didn't come close to answering all of them. In fact, you had so many questions remaining about the Giants, I had to again break up this week's mailbag into two parts.
So here is Part I - just a few of the questions you tweeted to me this week, along with my answers. I'll focus on the questions about the offense in Part I of this week's SNY Giants mailbag. Then, I'll answer your defensive questions in Part II:
Why didn't the Giants take Biadasz with the 4th round pick being that they needed a center? -- @JohnBrown90887
If this was a fix of the OL, where is the center? -- @swalterschied
Yeah, this was the most surprising thing to me about the Giants' draft: No center. I was sure they would take one on Day 2.
I told you ahead of time they had their eyes on Michigan C Cesar Ruiz, but he never made it out of Round 1. I told you it would either be a center or safety Xavier McKinney in Round 2, and that if they went with McKinney, it would be a center in Round 3.
But after taking McKinney in Round 2, they took UConn T Matt Peart in Round 3. And a few picks later they took UCLA CB Darnay Holmes in Round 4. Why not Wisconsin C Tyler Biadasz, who went at the end of Round 4? Or perhaps San Diego State's Keith Ismael or Washington's Nick Harris, whom the Giants could've gotten in Round 5?
All I can tell you is that they didn't have them graded as high as others did. Also, they seem to think they can get by with Spencer Pulley and -- if he's healthy -- Jon Halapio at center. They also have toyed with the idea of converting tackle Nick Gates to center. And they love their fifth-round pick, Oregon guard Shane Lemieux, who they believe can play center, too.
What kind of REAL improvement can we expect from the O-line via the draft combined with the guys we already have on the roster? What kind of difference will we see in the 2020 season? -- @Daslurry1
It's been really bad for a long time, so I would hope we'd see significant, real improvement. But the truth is, I think this line is still a work in progress. I suspect it'll be better, but maybe the real progress and promise will be evident by the end of the year.
The problem I see is the line is still in flux. They are set for the future at guard with Will Hernandez on the left and Kevin Zeitler on the right. But they are likely to start the season with Nate Solder at left tackle, rookie Andrew Thomas at right tackle and Pulley at center. But by next year (or even later this year), Thomas will be at left tackle, Peart will probably be at right tackle, and who knows who'll be at center.
My point is that the starting five this year won't be the same as the starting five next year, which makes this a transition year. And as every offensive lineman I've ever covered has said, the starting five needs to develop chemistry over time. So while the talent and depth are better, I wouldn't expect the improvement to be immediate.
Why did Andrew Thomas drop in the draft boards after the end of the season when he was at one time the consensus best tackle? -- @bvespo
I don't know that there's a good answer for that, except that obviously he didn't slip on the Giants' draft board. The "drop" might be more of a reflection over what was presented in the media and by draft experts. Not that we were lying or wrong, but that perceptions changed the more information got out.
All I know for sure is everyone I talked to at the end of last season seemed to think Thomas was the best tackle in the draft. But then I talked to more people in February and even more as the draft got closer, and I got many different rankings of the Top 4.
Scouts and GMs had done more work by then, had more internal discussions, and opinions changed. It's nothing Thomas did, it's just that some people started to like the other guys better -- especially after the dazzling combine performances of Louisville's Mekhi Becton and Iowa's Tristan Wirfs.
But I know some teams still had Thomas ranked as the best tackle in the draft. The Giants obviously did too.
Daniel Jones had 279 yards rushing last season. Think he can/should double that? -- @jdcahallartist
I think he probably could, but boy, if I were the Giants coaches, I sure wouldn't want him to do it. Jones is athletic and he can run, but let's face it: He's not Lamar Jackson. He's not that fast or elusive, and running isn't that much a part of his game.
I would think with an offensive line that's still a work-in-progress, the Giants definitely can use Jones' mobility as an asset. He's probably capable of rushing for 500 yards. But I would save his runs for the occasional change of pace or when he finds it absolutely necessary to get out of trouble. I'd prefer the Giants leave the running to the professionals. Why call runs for Jones when you can just let Saquon Barkley take off instead?
Do you think trading Evan Engram is still a possibility considering the fact how well Kaden Smith played last year, not just receiving but also blocking? - @YJ123002
They're not trading Engram. In fact, they just picked up the fifth-year option on his contract (at $6 million for 2021). If they were going to trade him, it would've been done before that and probably before the draft anyway. But honestly, even if they wanted to deal him, the market wouldn't have been robust anyway considering he's coming off foot surgery in December.
Engram certainly has had injury issues, but he's got terrific talent and is a matchup nightmare for defenses when he's healthy. He had 44 catches for 467 yards and three touchdowns in eight games last year. Smith has some promise and he's a good backup. But he's not quite in Engram's class -- at least not yet.